Two groups of students “translate” a poem by filmmaker and poet Jonas Mekas into moving images. They are mentored by two filmmakers.
11-13 year old students were divided into two groups which were working according to the same methodology. Each of them was led by a professional filmmaker. In the beginning the filmmakers Tomas Smulkis and Andrius Blaževičius showed two pictures to their groups. One picture was an advertising photo – a clear image of a cup and coffee. The other picture was a very abstract image of the countryside building – a snapshot from Jonas Mekas’ film. The students discussed about the differences between the two images and compared associations inspired by each of them. After reflection on different styles of the images, the workshop tutors screened excerpts from short films by Jonas Mekas (USA, France, 1965-2002). The youngsters discussed about the quotidian perspective to the environment and the glance to the world in Mekas’ films. After some time the discussion shifted towards poetic and colloquial, prosaic languages. The tutors offered an example of poetic language and invited students to read a poem …Tada buvo pavasario pirma audra (title in English …Then it was the first spring storm) by Jonas Mekas. The students talked about the atmosphere and mood of the poem, its “lyrical I”, spaces, main actions. Then, they formed teams of three or four and thought on visual metaphors which express certain key words and phrases of the poem. After sharing their ideas, the workshop participants looked for visual metaphors related to the poem in their surroundings and tried to capture/express them in a few photos. The first day of the workshop ended with reflections on the photos and their relation to the poem.
The filmmaking process took place on the second day. Having discussed the concept of film rhythm, students had to express the atmosphere and key words of the poem in the sequence of 5-10 film shots. They continued working in the teams of three or four people (as on the first day). The youngsters edited video material with Windows Movie Maker programme. The last stage of the workshops was reflection on the “visual poems” made by students.
Short Films by Jonas Mekas (USA-France, 1965-2002)